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Carton Flow Helps You Grow


What do you do when you run out of space?

For many order picking operations, how this question is answered can make or break their business. For Pine State Trading Company, a supplier of convenience stores throughout New England, their answer to this question brought them to UNEX Manufacturing.

The answer is carton flow.

Pine State's problems were two-fold: they were running out of space in their current facility, and projecting a 50% increase in volume over the next few years. They were even renting additional storage facilities to handle all of their SKUs! This model proved very quickly to be unsustainable, and they turned to St. Onge, a supply chain firm. St. Onge took a look at their issues and discovered that Pine State needed to maximize the space utilization of their warehouse in order to drastically cut operational costs and keep all of their SKUs under one roof. St. Onge then turned to UNEX to provide the solution.

As we've discussed in a previous blog entry, a major factor in Pine State's space crunch was dead zones. Without a carton flow system in place, SKUs sitting on flat shelves would inevitably lead to low storage density in their facility. To better demonstrate what I mean, let's take a look at Ergoman.


The light blue highlights the areas in the pallet rack that an order picker can reach, while the white space behind it represents the dead zone. Cartons stored in the dead zones result in inefficient picks that hurt productivity. In most situations, this means SKUs are pushed all the way to the front to be easily accessed by pickers. All that white space behind it adds up to hundreds, if not thousands, of square feet wasted.

Replacing Pine State's static shelving with a dynamic carton flow system eliminated these dead spaces from their distribution center. St. Onge outfitted Pine State's operation head to toe with UNEX SpanTrack, which allows for up to 90% space utilization from left to right. Most importantly, it allows you to utilize the entirety of the depth of the rack. This means more SKUs in less space.

Pine State is a perfect example of increasing Pickability, and its success has been duplicated with every order picking operation that chooses UNEX solutions. To learn more about how UNEX helped Pine State pump up its Pickability, check out the full case study. If you're ready to resolve the space crunch in your facility, contact us today.